Digitally the Master: Chuck Close

Chuck Close is still a Rock Star of an Artist
Chuck greets his youngest fan

One of the most innovative and masterful artists known for his trademark or rather marked portraits of family and friends, Chuck Close is a living treasure in the contemporary art world. PACE Gallery on 25th Street had the distinct honor of presenting recent paintings, prints, and tapestries by this super stellar artist who remains a creative force for the past five decades. Arte Fuse came to the opening last October 18th to bear witness and possibly encounter an art legend.

My very first encounter with the work of Chuck Close was viewing one of his pieces at MoMA which was one of his infamous portraits. I took it to be digitally made but as a matter of fact, it was employed by hand. The careful plotting of more than tens of thousands of marks to create a face in such a scale was astounding. Chuck Close by all rights did pixilated imagery before such technologies were even perfected. In the age of Instagram and Photoshop, he was the original digital master before those became as ubiquitous in image enhancement or manipulation.

Everyone wants to be close to Chuck
Chuck Close making his way about in PACE Gallery

To see the range of work that he still produces and the sheer size of it that there’s hands down no artist like Close. The precision and ingenious application still leaves the viewer with awestruck wonder at the grand vision that only he can execute. Some of the faces are known like Phil (Glass) 2011-2012 and Cindy (Sherman) 2012 that definitely added star wattage to the already impressive work. Now moving on to another phase of his creative mettle that Close has new Self-Portraits in the main gallery room where details are more expanded and becoming more deconstructed. His works have always been considered both in the realm of abstract and realistic. For the in-depth foray into digital technology that Close stretches the precise and defined parameters of his artwork. Using about 14,500 of his own hand-made watercolor marks scanned into the computer and personally organized each square then either determined the placement or where it falls, Close employed an exploratory and unabashed verve to redefine his signature. The watercolor prints for his recent work defines and refocuses the endless possibilities in embracing the technological process.

It is definitely the can’t miss art show of the season
Chuck Close with his friend, the legendary Paul Simon (on far right)

Close gamely made his rounds with the crowd of fans and art lovers then signed some catalogs. He even wanted to sign a baby’s head (that would be an awesome first tattoo) and showed a zest to still keep on going. In this exhibition and based on the work viewed, Chuck Close has learned to love and stopped fighting against the digital process. However, he is still the original master of the innovation where he’s still the lone renegade and the very best there is.

The art of Chuck Close still ROCKS!!!

Chuck Close / On View: October 19 – December 22, 2012

Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday (10 am – 6 pm)

PACE Gallery. 534 West 25th Street. NYC, NY 10011


art review by: Oscar A. Laluyan

event Photos by: Max Noy



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